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The Last Person on Earth

Below is an article I wrote in my email Newsletter for www.shapetheorycollective.com, an online ceramics gallery that I founded a little over two years ago.


There's also a link to a response by Shawn Rossiter

The founder of Artists of Utah and editor of its online magazine, 15 Bytes, Shawn Rossiter has undergraduate degrees in English, French and Italian Literature and studied Comparative Literature in graduate school before pursuing a career in art.


Why the name Shape Theory? I think I'm pretty good at titles, at least most of the time, and Shape Theory was the title that I gave to the abstract piece below. I liked the title so much that it’s now the name of this online gallery that I started a little over two years ago. The word "Shape" connotes the form, the contours or outline, which is perfectly applicable to the piece below and it’s applicable to the contours of this gallery that are still in development. “Theory” is about ideas that support a course of action and I have a theory that my efforts can not only benefit you, the patron of art, but also the artists and those imprisoned for cannabis.


These are our three constituents; patrons, artists and prisoners. That's it. The Shape Theory sculpture below is about five years old. Making an abstract sculpture that is about pure form is a different way of thinking than trying to make sculpture that looks like something that already exists. I put my whole heart into several abstract pieces and when I thought they were ready for prime time, I entered this piece into the adjudicated National Council on Education for the Ceramics Arts exhibition that same year and it got rejected.


I often wonder if I were the only person on earth, would I still make art? I'm not sure. Would you? I think I'm more dependent on the opinions of others than I'd like to admit. If there was no one to celebrate my art, to give me compliments and accolades, would I still make it? Maybe instead of making art for the art market or to be celebrated by others, I'd begin to make art to appease the gods to send more rain, banish my loneliness, or to conjure a mate so that we can begin to repopulate the world anew. If I were the last man on earth, there wouldn't be NCECA shows to be rejected from or the art market to answer to. My view of my work wouldn't be tainted by someone else's opinion, an opinion that may have simply been influenced by the breakfast burrito they had that morning. It's hard for us to judge our own work and when we do, we often view it through the eyes of others. The artists that I represent on Shape Theory Collective have all been rejected. I heard somewhere that it takes a thousand "nos" to get to one yes. I believe in these artists not only because their work is wonderful, but they've persisted in the face of so many obstacles, love, loss, longing and the vicissitudes of life. Their rejections and broken hearts were stepping stones that makes their art so fully human and it got them here. We celebrate the nos because they shape us and they get us one step closer to the yesses. Russell Wrankle



Here's the response by Shawn Rossiter/15 Bytes article




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